Italian yacht builder Benetti last week announced that more than 50% of their yachts are sold in the U.S. And most of those yachts are sold in Miami.
“These are not your father’s yachts,” says Paul Madden in his office at the world-renowned RMK Merrill-Stevens Shipyard on the Miami River.
The office is a converted ship container inside a vast yacht shed that is filled with multi-million dollar ‘water toys’. His walls are covered with yacht designs and 3D graphics of yacht concepts. Yacht videos dance across an LED screen that covers one wall.
“Our buyers want new, fresh designs with submarines, helipads, lap pools, gyms, and on-deck cinemas. It’s not about showing off – it’s about the experience and the yachting lifestyle… And we now have over half a billion dollars of offerings.”
Merrill Stevens offers a half-billion dollars of yachts
Merrill Stevens Yachts operates from Miami’s largest shipyard that has been at the same location since the 1920’s. It was known for years as home base to Malcolm Forbes’ mega-yacht “Highlander”. It’s a Miami landmark that has been featured in music videos, movies and various TV episodes including “Miami Vice”. The yard is owned by Turkish (billionaire) yachtsman, Mr. Rahmi M. Koç, who himself owns a magnificent 183’ sailing yacht.
Managing broker, Paul Madden, is the former rep for Germany’s BLOHM+VOSS ‘giga-yacht’ builder, and also Ferretti Group’s stylish mega-yacht brand “CRN”. “Miami is a convergent market with Latinos, Euros, Russians and young American ‘uber-wealth’. They demand the best, and the best yachts come from Europe, make no mistake,” states Madden. “Savvy buyers seek us out, not just because we have access to the top yacht builders – they know we are the only shipyard in Miami that can service these yachts” Madden adds, ”You wouldn’t buy a Maserati or a Bentley from some guy on the corner out by the airport – no, you buy where you trust the service! That’s why we dominate this market.”
RMK Merrill-Stevens shipyard regularly handles yachts from the world’s finest builders such as Feadship and Benetti. They recently serviced “Triple 7” a 223′ mega-yacht built by the German shipyard group which Paul Madden represented.
“The upper echelon of yachting is, by definition, very exclusive. At Merrill Stevens, you know you are dealing with the right people,” explains Madden.
The brokerage offers a selection of yachts in their showroom docks on the Miami River, such as a 76’ Lazzara which also charters locally. But clients can also drop-in to see Hi-Def presentations of new designs and yachts-under-construction that are available from brands such as Benetti and AB Yachts in Italy, or Feadship and Heesen in Holland. This brokerage also has unique offerings – like a new 280’ Rolls-Royce designed mega-yacht and a 303’ former NOAA research ship that is ready for yacht conversion.
Their affiliated shipyard, RMK Marine, can build custom yachts with U.S. specifications from designers such as a high-speed 165’ yacht from legendary designer Espen Oeino and a next-generation 50-meter expedition yacht from Italian designer HOT LABS. The Merrill Stevens custom builds come with a full warranty and service right from their own shipyard in downtown Miami.